What the 1% did to Lancaster, Ohio

Lancaster, Ohio was once held up as a shining example of what a small American city should be. Even in the 60s and 70s it kept going when other cities saw their industries shutter. But then the Reagan years began and private-equity financiers got involved. Soon Anchor Hocking, the local glass company that had mostly escaped the forces that created the Rust Belt, was awash in debt as those financiers used it to give themselves enormous paybacks. Today Anchor Hocking is a ghost of its former self, Lancaster is full of poverty and drug use and those who profited from all of it are very far away.

Despite all this, almost two-thirds of Lancaster voted for you-know-who in the election.

You may not get to die as you wish

Every adult should have a will, a healthcare proxy and an advanced medical directive or living will. But there’s no guarantee that when your final days come healthcare providers will follow your wishes. There are a number of reasons for this, but money is a big factor.

End-of-life care is a pot of gold in our modern medical system. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries in their last year of life accounts for about 25 percent of all Medicare spending. In 2011, Medicare spending was almost $554 billion ? 28 percent of which was spent during patients’ last six months of life, according to Kaiser Health News.

My father’s last days weren’t as good as they could have been. The doctors gave us mixed messages, leading us to believe that his life could be extended despite the obvious signs that his body was giving up. But ultimately it became undeniable. Thanks to his healthcare proxy I was able to talk to the doctors and because of his living will I was able to make the decision to switch him to comfort care knowing that was exactly what he wanted.

Does the Left Bear Any Blame for Donald Trump?

As this interview with Kathleen Geier and James Tindwa points out, there are dozens of plausible reasons why Clinton lost the election, all of which likely contributed. But often overlooked is her campaign’s failure to engage her party’s more liberal members and acknowledge the damage trade agreements like NAFTA did in the Rust Belt. As a result, many voters saw so little difference between her and Trump they felt no compelling need to vote. This played right into the hands of the GOP, which has made suppressing Democratic voters a key part of its strategy.

The GOP has done a remarkable job of convincing working people it’s on their side despite not being on their side at all. It started with Nixon and continued with Reagan, Bush and now Trump. Until the Democrats realize that they need to win back this constituency by actually working on their behalf they will continue to be the minority party at every level of government.

World War II Memorial

Back in 2013 I had the chance to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. I took the opportunity to highlight the parts of the memorial that were associated with my dad’s service in the Navy.

They have a kiosk where you can look up someone’s service information. My dad entered his own.

Charles J. Maszerowski

He served in the Pacific Theater for most of the war.

Pacific

Guadalcanal was the battle that resulted in his ship, USS Wasp CV-7, being sunk. He was one of many who survived.

Guadalcanal

Thanks to the efforts of the Navy, Marines and our allies we achieved a hard-fought victory. This memorial assures that they are not forgotten.

Victory At Sea

Lower Falls and Maplewood Park

Today I visited one of the more overlooked parts of the Genesee River, the Lower Falls. It’s not quite as scenic (or as high) as High Falls and gets far fewer visitors. Unlike High Falls, however, it’s still an active hydroelectric site under the control of RG&E. Among other things it was once home to a small settlement, with a mill and other buildings that exist now only in bits and pieces.

Lower Falls by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

 

Lower Falls by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

 

Island by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

 

Mill Race by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

 


Next to the Lower Falls site, is Maplewood Park. The park boundaries have been changed over the years, likely because of proximity to the steep cliffs of the river gorge. This structure was abandoned and placed well behind a fence. Nevertheless it gets lots of visits. I would have been one of them but I didn’t have the proper gear with me and thought it best to visit another day.

Maplewood Park by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

 

The rise and fall of the Gopher protocol

When I first encountered what we now call the Internet, it was called NSFnet and was run by the National Science Foundation (although references to the ARPAnet still abounded). Finding information or any kind of file was difficult at best unless you already knew where it was stored. My grad school was connected, as were most universities, but we didn’t have DNS set up so you actually had to use IP numbers to specify hosts to connect to. It was the opposite of user-friendly.

By 1992 the governing committee of the Internet realized it needed a better way to connect this growing network to its users. Among the contenders was the Gopher protocol that was created by programmers at the University of Minnesota.

Gopher did very, very well for a while, greatly exceeding Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, one of the others proposed. Then the University decided to charge users to use Gopher. The rest is, as they say, history.

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Along with all the talk about fake news and the effect it may or may have not had on the election there usually comes a chuckle as if it didn’t really matter. But it does. We’re bombarded with untruths on a regular basis yet we consider ourselves experts at recognizing them. However, the fact that advertising works so well says we’re not even close to that. What to do?

Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it. The first and most important step is to recognise the limits of our own cognition. We must be humble about our ability to justify our own beliefs. These are the keys to adopting a critical mindset – which is our only hope in a world so full of bullshit.

Union Street Construction

When the City of Rochester built the Inner Loop, it destroyed a number of neighborhoods and made dead end streets out of busy thoroughfares. Worse, it never actually accomplished its goal (assuming it wasn’t just displacing poor people) and was devoid of significant amounts of traffic for the most part.

Now the city has decided to fill in much of it and create space for commercial development. But it’s been slow going. Glacial is perhaps a better term. It’s been a year and this is what’s been done so far.

Mountain by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Roots by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Planetree by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Concrete by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com